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When managers talk about social media the debate still seems to revolve around external uses of social technologies. This is typified by the kind of debate I participated in for Professional Manager back in February that asked whether social media was a waste of time.
If you flip things around however you can begin to appreciate how social media can be used as a collaboration tool. I wrote recently about how successful Lego have been at harnessing the innovative thoughts of their customers to revive their fortunes in recent years.
The Six Principles of Collaboration
- Participation – You want to encourage participation from across your organization. As we’ve seen from the experiment, this could involve you removing, or at least educating, people that don’t act collaboratively.
- Collective – As collaboration will involve taken relatively narrow perspectives and making them broad, you will need to help the group reach a consensus and then take action collectively on the decisions they make.
- Transparency – Feedback and trust are essential elements of collaboration. Being transparent with information is crucial if that is to be achieved. Make sure that all debates are had in the open and that the entire group has access to the latest information.
- Independence – James Surowiecki emphasized the importance of independent thought in his book Wisdom of Crowds, so you’ll need to ensure that group-think does not emerge and that people are thinking for themselves.
- Persistence – You will need to be persistent in your application of these principles, to ensure that all content is kept within the community and easily accessible to all members.
- Emergence – Remember that the point of mass collaboration is to achieve great results, so ensure you focus on the end goal rather than worrying about how that is achieved. You will need your collaborative community to set their own goals and objectives.
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